Being educated in the twenty-first century: An exploration

  • P Prinsloo Institute for Curriculum and Learning Development, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
  • HA Louw Vice-Principal Learner Support and ICT, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


The question 'When am I educated?' had a fairly simple answer in the modern era. The minimum requirement was a degree from one of the 'recognised' universities of the world, and the degree initiated the individual into the different 'official' canons of knowledge. The majority of those canons were Western in origin and represented Education (with a capital 'E'). Knowledge production and legitimisation were the sole mandate of universities and institutions of higher learning. In the postmodern era being considered 'educated' has changed dramatically. Universities are no longer the only producers or legitimisers of knowledge; the canons of knowledge themselves are contested. Industry demands 'just-in-time' learning and certification, while lifelong learning as transitional learning celebrates 'unofficial' and informal knowledge production. Lifelong learning furthermore includes valuing interdependency and learning-in-communities within the broader project of individuation. Should the question be 'Who owns or will produce what type of knowledge?' or 'Who will sanction the knowledge produced or owned and determine the relevance thereof?'

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 20 (2) 2006: 288-298

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eISSN: 1011-3487